The identification, protection, enforcement and commercialisation of intellectual property require effective management. Intellectual property, as it operates within the South African context, is of particular importance to the success of any business.
South Africa is a signatory to various international conventions that pertain to intellectual property. These conventions provide a blueprint for legislation and practices for the safeguarding of intellectual property both locally and internationally.
Fundamental to the discussion of intellectual property is the analysis of its various forms, including trademarks, registered designs, copyright and patents. It is also important to know what steps are required to protect each of these forms of intellectual property. Registration is recommended, particularly in those territories which do not protect common law rights.
Recent changes to the Consumer Protection Act, No. 68 of 2008, the Companies Act, No. 71 of 2008, and the Exchange Regulations impact intellectual property significantly. For example, prior approval from the Reserve Bank is required for all transfers of ownership in intellectual property off-shore.
Also at issue are counterfeiting and copyright piracy, two of the biggest threats posed to intellectual property with significant implications on international relations. With the advancement in technology, the proliferation of piracy and infringement of intellectual property rights remain a challenge.
“Intellectual property, as it operates within the South African context, is of particular importance to the success of any business.”
For a comprehensive document outlining the implications of this area of law in South Africa